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Percival Molson Memorial Stadium
Stade Percival-Molson
275px
Location Montreal, Quebec
Opened October 25, 1919
Owner McGill University
Surface FieldTurf 2004 to present
Astroturf 1976 to 2003
Grass 1919 to 1975
Construction cost $100,000 (approx.)
($1.22 million in 2019 dollars[1])
Renovations: $29.4 million
($30.2 million in 2019 dollars[1])
Total cost:
C$31.4 million in 2012 dollars
Architect Percy Erskine Nobbs
Capacity Canadian football: 25,012[2]
Tenants
Montreal Alouettes (CFL) (1947-1967, 1998-present)
McGill Redmen (CIS)
File:Montreal Neurological Institute.jpg

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium (also known in French as Stade Percival-Molson; commonly referred to as Molson Stadium in English or Stade Molson in French) is an outdoor football stadium located downtown on Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is owned by McGill University and is home to the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1947 until 1967 and from 1998 to present and the McGill Redmen of the Quebec University Football League. The Selwyn House Gryphons high-school football team also play their home games at the stadium.

As a result of the $29,355,000 renovation project, the stadium grew from 20,202 seats to 25,000, 18 new private boxes were built, and the stadium’s state-of-the-art video board became a permanent installation.[3] Percival Molson Stadium is the smallest football stadium in the CFL with a permanent seating capacity of only 25,012; New Hamilton Stadium (at 24,000 seats) will be smaller upon its 2014 completion.

HistoryEdit

File:Montreal Alouettes vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats, July 6 2006.jpg

Construction was completed in 1914 on what was then known as McGill Graduates stadium, which was located on the slope of Mount Royal, at the corner of University and Pine (avenue Des Pins). The stadium sat dormant through World War I with the cessation of football from 1914 to 1918. On July 5, 1917, Captain Percival Molson, a McGill University alumnus and sports star who had been instrumental in getting the stadium plan approved, was killed in action in France. His will left $75,000 to the university to help pay most of the total costs for the completion of the stadium. Other individual donors whose generosity built and renovated the stadium were William C. Macdonald and John W. McConnell. Designed by Percy Erskine Nobbs,[4] the stadium was officially renamed in honour of Molson in 1919.

The Montreal Alouettes have played most of their home games at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, located on the campus of McGill University, since November 1997. Until 2007, they played their last home regular season game at the Olympic Stadium. Any playoff games are played at the Olympic Stadium. Percival Molson stadium is also home of the Selwyn House Gryphons[5] and the McGill Redmen football and rugby teams. It was the home of the CFL Montreal Alouettes from 1947 to 1967. The only Grey Cup game to have been played at Molson Stadium was in 1931. Nevertheless it was the first time the Grey Cup had been contested outside of Ontario. It also served as a venue for field hockey during the 1976 Summer Olympics.[6] It seated 20,202 and has been sold out for Alouettes games since August 12, 1999.[7]

The Alouettes' decision to return to the venue was problematic because the team was being sponsored by the Labatt Brewing Company and the stadium shared the name of its major competitor, Molson, though not named for it. Eventually, the team chose to change sponsors, and have since been sponsored by Molson. In 2004, The Alouettes installed a FieldTurf surface at Molson Stadium which is still in use.

Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Notable YearsEdit

1915-1919: The beginningEdit

The stadium was originally built for McGill's student athletes, and it was constructed on Montreal's Mount Royal on the grounds of MacDonald Park.

1920-1949Edit

The stadium enjoyed a period of heavy use during this era, before the Alouettes moved here from Delorimier Stadium. Percival Molson was host to a Grey Cup and many a packed house for McGill Redmen football games.

1950-59Edit

Perhaps the first golden era for Percival Molson Stadium, this era saw the likes of Sam "The Rifle" Etcheverry and "Prince" Hal Patteron star in front of packed audiences of 25,000-plus with bleachers all the way down to the sidelines. The stadium was also host to a visit from none other than Princess Elizabeth, who went on shortly after to become Queen Elizabeth II.

1960-69Edit

Perhaps the highlight of the 1960s was a visit from the NFL's Chicago Bears as the Alouettes hosted a CFL-NFL exhibition. The Als left Percival Molson Stadium for the brand new Autostade in the late 60s.

1970-79Edit

Despite a lack of CFL football played there for the vast majority of the 70s, Percival Molson Stadium had its fair share of glory during a great era for the city. When Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympic Summer Games, Molson Stadium hosted field hockey and became the first Olympic venue ever with artificial turf.

1980-97Edit

Following the glory days of the Alouettes in the 1950s-60s and the Olympics in the 1970s, Percival Molson Stadium slowly fell into disrepair despite a few highlights like an early-80s The Police concert and some highly successful seasons for the McGill Redmen. By the time the Als moved in for a 1997 playoff game, a tree was growing through the north-side stands and the stadium was almost beyond saving. Convinced of its potential, however, the Alouettes moved in permanently the following year.

2000-2010 & the futureEdit

The Alouettes once again made Percival Molson Stadium their permanent home in 1998 and have, along with McGill University and all three levels of government, invested millions of dollars in renovating and expanding the building into the crown jewel of Canadian stadiums. On Sept. 28, 2009, The Montreal Alouettes announced the signing of a 20-year lease with McGill University, that will keep the team at the newly renovated, modernized and expanded Percival Molson Stadium for many years to come.[8]

RenovationEdit

Molson Stadium has been renovated and expanded, adding nearly 5,000 seats in time for the 2010 CFL season.[9] The project to see the smallest CFL stadium increase to a seating capacity of 25,012 cost $29.4 million.[10] Eleven rows were removed from the south side of the stadium to construct a second tier and add the majority of the new seats, about 3,800. Also, temporary bleachers in the east end-zone were replaced with 1,500 permanent seats, a new section was added to the northeast corner, and 19 new private suites were constructed. The cost of the renovations were shared by the Quebec government ($19.3 million), the city of Montreal ($4 million), and Robert Wetenhall, the Alouettes' owner ($6,023,935).[11][12][3]

LayoutEdit

Because the playing surface is surrounded by a running track, the full 65-yard width of the end zones is not available at the two end lines. However, the full width is available for more than half of each end zone, with the only missing pieces being the relatively small bits off the corners. This setup is not uncommon in Canadian football; another CFL stadium, Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, is configured in this manner.

The east entrance and west entrances have a metal arch framing their walkway. The east side features a newly-improved box office that is built into the mountain, giving the impression that it has a green roof, since it is covered with greenery. “The box office is of utmost importance since we want to give our fans not only the opportunity to purchase tickets on the same day of a home game, but also for games to come later that year,” explained Mark Weightman, Vice President of Operations & Events.[10]

What adds charm to McGill Stadium is the fact that the intimacy level that fans were worried about losing was preserved throughout the renovation process. Additionally, there are no bad seats in the entire facility, every seat offers an excellent view of the field.

“That is one aspect that we are particularly proud of,” states Weightman. He adds that “The work done by the Populous architect firm, which was notably involved in the construction of Camden Yards (the home of the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball) and its work on Wembley Stadium, is definitely something that need recognition.”[10]

Notable additionsEdit

  • Newly-improved box office: Box office is built into Mount Royal.
  • Raymond Nadeau art piece near the east side entrance of History Place. The art will certainly capture the fans eyes. History place is an area depicting the history of McGill Stadium.
  • Builder’s Prominade, an area displaying bricks purchased by fans and corporate sponsors that pay homage to the Alouettes.[10]
  • Improved its audio system, to further add to the fan experience and environment that has been created at McGill Stadium.
  • Re-positioned the giant screen to a permanent location in compliance to the environmental requirements of Mont Royal.
  • Added elevators (north and south sides),
  • Added snack counters with increased space to access them.
  • Provided corporate boxes (18) and built a plaza at the base of the giant screen, where Marie-Mai entertained the crowd during the half-time show of the Alouettes game on July 22, 2010.[10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

MediaEdit

Coordinates: 45°30′36.3″N 73°34′50.4″W / 45.510083°N 73.580667°W / 45.510083; -73.580667
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